Archive for April, 2011

Apr 27 2011

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11 Tips to De-Clutter your Home – The House Plan Shop

OrganizedTry as we might, it is hard to keep our homes completely clutter free. Below, The House Plan Shop provides quick tips to keep 11 spaces in your home neat and organized. Read on if your home could use a little organization.

 

  1. Bedroom closets and dressers: Get rid of any clothing item that you no longer wear, doesn’t fit any more or is torn or ripped and cannot be repaired. There is no need to have closets and dressers jam-packed with clothing you don’t wear or can’t wear. Make room for the clothing pieces you love so you can find them easier.
  2. Bathroom: Use up or get rid of half used bottles of shampoo and conditioner. If you don’t like their effect on your hair, consider using shampoo for shower gel and conditioner for shaving gel.
  3. Linen closet: Group towel sets and sets of bed clothes together. Get rid of any mismatched sets. Use frayed towels for cleaning rags in your workshop/garage.
  4. Foyer/Hall closet: Give all the things you grab on the way out the door a place of their own by the door so you can find them when you need them and return them to their proper place when you come back home. Make a space in the closet or under a bench for shoes and boots. A circular canister works well for umbrellas. Give the kids a hook in the closet or on the wall to hang their own jackets and backpacks. 
  5. Kitchen: Clean out the pantry and cabinets. Get rid of any canned goods that are out of date. Throw away stale bags of chips. Sort through dishes and cookware including utensils. Get rid of chipped dishes and mismatched sets. Free up cabinet space by getting rid of extra serving dishes you never use. If you have multiple cooking utensils, keep those in the best shape and toss out the duplicates.
  6. Family room: If you plan to sit on the couch, get rid of all the extra throw pillows. It is OK to keep a couple decorative pillows, but there is no need for 10-15 of them. Keep 2-3 pillows that are in good shape and match your décor, but get rid of the rest. Clean out your media cabinet and get rid of CDs and DVDs that are scratched or broken or that you no longer us. Recycle the plastic cases.
  7. Mail organizer: Designate a space in your home to place your mail until you have time to go through it whether it is on the kitchen counter, an entry table in the foyer or in your office. You’ll always know where to find the mail.
  8. Office: Organize files in a meaningful way from phone and electric bills to health records and receipts and warranties for appliances. Create a filing system that works for you, i.e. arranging files by color file folders or alphabetically.
  9. Playroom: Eliminate broken toys and those with missing pieces. Recycle anything you can. Put game and puzzle pieces back in their respective boxes or containers and stack them in cabinets or on shelves. Get rid of toys the kids no longer play with. If they are in good condition, donate them to charity. 
  10. Laundry room: Establish a sorting procedure for sorting laundry by arranging labeled baskets in the laundry room. Teach your kids to sort their own clothing.
  11. Garage: Sort everything in the garage and group like items in storage tubs. Get rid of broken toys and bikes that have been outgrown. Securely store power tool and hazardous chemicals out of reach of children.

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Apr 20 2011

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The House Plan Shop – Featured Log Cabin House Plan for Rustic Getaways

Log Home Plan 012L-0020Designed for woodsy getaways, this log cabin house plan is sure to please you. The structure is composed of true logs and accented with stone allowing it to blend well with the natural surroundings. An open deck encourages grilling, conversation, relaxation and the enjoyment of nature. Just imagine stargazing with your loved one after a tasty outdoor meal. Passing through double doors you’ll find a welcoming floor plan where the great room, dining area and kitchen team up creating an open and casual atmosphere in front of a crackling fireplace. Special features here include a breakfast bar, pantry and two-story ceiling with a view to the loft above. Tucked at the back of the home for privacy, the bedroom enjoys a large closet and immediate access to the full bath. The upper level loft is partitioned making it a great bunk room for the kids or friends sharing a long weekend with you amid Mother Nature’s majesty. Perhaps you’d prefer to use one portion of the loft as a sleeping area and the other portion as an office, sitting room or hobby space. The choice is yours! Note the two large storage closets, ideal for seasonal linens or fishing poles and hunting gear. No matter how you envision this log cabin home plan, you’ll appreciate its comfortable and cozy floor plan as well as its ability to accommodate a broad range of needs.

 

For more designs similar to this log cabin house plan, check out The House Plan Shop’s cabins and cottages collection and our log home floor plans.

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Apr 11 2011

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8 Super Spring Cleaning Tips – The House Plan Shop

Cleaning SuppliesIf you keep up with house cleaning chores, the thought of spring cleaning doesn’t have to be so scary. If you perform the daily and weekly touch-ups, spring cleaning is limited to just the extras – the cleaning tasks that only need to be done once a year.

 

1.    Clean the Carpet – In some cases, it is necessary to have your carpet professionally cleaned every 12-18 months to keep up a new carpet’s warranty. If that’s not the case, do it yourself. Rent or buy a professional-style deep carpet cleaner designed for home use. Many leave carpets and rugs dry within about an hour which means you won’t have to inconvenience your family.

2.    Clean under furniture and behind appliances – First enlist someone to help you move big pieces of furniture and pull kitchen appliances away from the wall. Sweep and vacuum the floor under each item and use the vacuum hose to clean under and behind appliances.

3.    Wash windows – Save this chore for a cloudy day. If it is too sunny, the cleaning solution will dry quickly on the glass leaving streaks. Wash inside and out. Have a system. Wipe with vertical strokes inside and horizontal strokes outside. If you do end up with streaks, you’ll know what side of the window needs a little more attention.

4.    Wash door frames, walls and baseboards – These surfaces are easy to overlook on a daily basis, but they deserve a little attention once a year. Just mix a squirt of dishwashing soap with a bucket of warm water and wipe with a sponge. Tough scuff marks, fingerprints and even crayons can be wiped away with the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser.

5.    Clean sliding glass door tracks – Begin by sweeping or vacuuming the track to remove the large pieces of debris. Scrub the tracks with a toothbrush and soapy water. Wipe clean with a wet sponge.

6.    Clean window treatments – If your curtains can be laundered, take them down and throw them in the washing machine. Be sure to follow the label directions for cleaning. For other windows treatments that cannot be washed, go over them thoroughly with the upholstery attachment on the vacuum.

7.    Dust ceiling fans, light fixtures and light bulbs –  Use a lint-free cloth to dust the glass fixtures and bulbs you can reach. For ceiling fans and other light fixtures that are out of your reach, visit the local home improvement stores. There all many types of tools available to help you reach things that would ordinarily require a ladder.

8.    Clean furniture – Use the upholstery vacuum attachment to clean fabric covered sofas and chairs. Restore smooth leather with the appropriate upholstery cleaner and conditioner. Polish wooden furniture pieces including dining room chairs, the coffee table and end tables.

 

Using these tips as your spring cleaning guide, you’ll be well on your way to a clean and fresh home.  

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Apr 06 2011

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The House Plan Shop: Cape Cod House Plans – Then and Now

Cape Cod House Plan 022H-0019With the first homes being built in the New England area, specifically Cape Cod, MA, by English settlers in the 1700s, Cape Cod house plans are deeply rooted in American history. They were basic structures that contained only a single room or a couple of rooms. The chimney was placed at the center of the floor plan so the entire home could be warmed throughout the harsh New England winters. Original Cape Cod homes did not contain bathrooms and most did not provide a kitchen either. Typically, the exteriors of these houses offered very little exterior ornamentation reflecting the Puritan values and sentiment of the early East Coast settlers. The homes were usually symmetrical with clean and simple lines and an exterior covering of shingles or clapboard siding. Steeply angled roofs helped protect against the stormy weather characteristic of the Cape Cod area.

 

In the 1930s Cape Cod houses became popular again. These simple and easy-to-build structures appealed to Depression Era builders and thus were mass produced due to their small and economical size and efficient features. Furthermore, they were quite affordable to build and became popular with home buyers as a result of their very affordable prices. Their practical floor plans were an added bonus. After World War II, Cape Cod style houses began popping up all over the United States in an array of variations from their original design.

 

 Today’s Cape Cod house plans maintain their simple and symmetrical nature showcasing an exterior with clean, straight lines and little exterior detail and trim. Windows and the main entrance are neatly arranged across the front of the home. Designs can be one or two stories. Like their ancestors, they feature a steeply sloped roof with little overhang. Today’s Cape Cod designs often offer a loft or full second floor with a couple of bedrooms tucked inside the roof. Often, protruding dormers increase headspace and usable area on the upper level. Present day Cape Cod home plans continue to offer a functional floor plan and practical features. They incorporate many of today’s most requested design elements into their historically popular floor plans such as a kitchen island, walk-in closets, deluxe baths and specially appointed rooms like an office or study. Furthermore, their simply design makes them highly expandable with some popular versions offering an attached garage or basement foundation. The practical floor plans, functional features and budget friendly price of these New England style homes make them especially appealing to young families with one or two children.

 

From the past to the present, with promise for the future, Cape Cod house plans are a timeless American classic.

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